Mosley implores board to ‘be better’

NASHUA – Superintendent of Schools Jahmal Mosley addressed the board Monday night with a plea to the board for more respectful meetings, something he said has kept him up at night during the “most difficult two weeks that I can imagine as a

superintendent.”

“I know that we are better than this,” he said, adding that moving forward, board members should be able to listen to one another without interruption.

He addressed the faculty and staff, the “individuals behind the scenes,” thanking them for their dedication to the district.

He also made a point to say that “our schools will be safe, no one that doesn’t follow protocol will be allowed in,” in an apparent nod to an incident March 29 which caused former board president George Farrington to be banned from the school district offices on Ledge Street for one year. He thanked Nashua Police Chief Andrew Lavoie and his leadership team, as well as police officers who were present at the meeting for a presentation, for their support.

“I want things to change here but it starts with us,” he said. “What our community has observed at some of these meetings will stop.”

Board member Heather Raymond agreed, mentioning that each of them have had many people reach out, asking for better decorum from the board.

Raymond Guarino echoed that.

“We have an obligation to be our best,” he said, adding that parents ‘don’t want politicking, they don’t want drama, they want positive action.”

Susan Porter, the newest board member, Monday being her first full board meeting, said she has also experienced that the community’s overwhelming desire is for better communication from the board.

“This is not presenting to the public what we are,” she said. “This isn’t what we want them to see.”

Board President Dotty Oden closed the statements by saying that they are there as examples to the students.

“What are they learning by watching us?” she asked. “Respect is universal.”

Not only parents, but also students wrote emails to the board, she said, especially after a recent, particularly contentious budget committee meeting.

“Here we are as a board of adults and we’re having to take direction from our student,” she said.

The ensuing meeting was without incident, although heated at times.

Board member Howard Coffman resigned from the policy committee. He said he would not longer “waste” his time in a committee that only “pretends” to discuss items, only moving forward those which will serve the administration.

He lamented the fact that there was “no longer any collaborative discussion” in the committee.

There was extensive discussion on whether or not board members should have key card access to the central office and Nashua High School North, where committee and full board meetings take place.

Some members, like Raymond and Guarino, who are both parents of students in the district, were uncomfortable with the idea.

Doris Hohensee, Elizabeth Van Twuyver and Coffman, however, were in favor of the idea, having been unable to enter central office for meetings on various occasions. The administration was infringing on their rights, Van Twuyver said. She was against the fact that their access rights were taken away without them being consulted.

There could also be signs, Hohensee suggested, stating that badges were needed beyond a certain point, another parallel to the situation with Farrington, who Mosley insisted was not allowed to be the part of the building where he was found, according to police reports.

There is currently a block that holds the back door to central office open for board members at meeting times, Oden pointed out, which is more of a security risk than the badges. Keycard access for that building, she said, would make sense.

Due to a new policy limiting board meetings to two hours, the board voted at 9 p.m. to extend the meeting by 30 minutes.

The issue for the keycards was moved to the policy committee for further discussion.

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or hlaclaire@nashuatelegraph.com.